That FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” has now established a tradition of being the final entertainment panel of San Diego Comic-Con is one of the funniest developments in the recent history of this event.
But here we are again, celebrating SAMCRO and Kurt Sutter on Comic-Con Sunday and, once again, we’ll doing it in Hall H.
Whee! Let’s find out what’s in store for Jax and company this fall!
3:58 p.m. We start with a clip from the new season. “I feel like my life is taking a turn,” Jax says in voiceover. We see a kid. It’s young Jax. Flash-forward to Charlie Hunnam. Clay in an orange jumpsuit. Maggie Siff in an orange jumper. Jax tells his sons, in his writing, to examine themselves and to find their own truth. Jimmy Smits is overseeing an unknown guy getting beaten up. Lots of Daddy Jax. And now clips. Peter Weller! Donal Logue! Jax in a knife fight! Chibs punching Juice! Tara punching somebody in prison! Jimmy Smits shooting somebody. JEEZ.
4:02 p.m. Basically the entire cast is here. Maggie Siff has short hair. Otherwise… Everybody looks the same. And Ron Perlman is wearing shades inside. Naturally. We also have Paris Barclay and Kurt Sutter.
4:04 p.m. I have no clue why Mike Flemming, who doesn’t cover TV, is moderating this panel.
4:04 p.m. The first question is about losing characters last season. Will all the people on the stage now have reason to be back next year? “Uhhh… I’m not sure,” is all Kurt says.
4:04 p.m. Does Sutter still plan on ending after seven? “I think we’ve really created these characters and narratives that have been very organic to this world and I feel like we’re running towards the finish,” Sutter says. He doesn’t want the show to overstay its welcome. “At a certain point the s*** just just to hit the fan and for it to stay believable and real, ultimately it has to find its endgame,” Sutter says.
4:07 p.m. Does Sutter know what the last scene of the series is? “Big pool of blood,” he replies. Long pause. “I have a sense of what I want the last scene of the show to be. How we’re going to get there and what that looks like, I’m not really sure,” Sutter adds.
4:07 p.m. What kind of stories and complexities are coming up? “We begin Season 6 a few days after Season 5 and I think obviously there’s a lot of big events that happen at the end of Season 5 and they will carry us through the season,” Sutter teases. The big questions include: “Can he be the leader of this outlaw organization and still be a loving father and devoted father?” And “In essence, can he have everything he wants and remain true to who he is.” And “What father is Jax destined to become? Is he destined to become Clay or is he destined to become JT?”
4:10 p.m. Does Jax see himself repeating the same mistakes his father made or does he see a righteous outcome? “I think that he hadn’t anticipated quite how difficult it was going to be to lead,” Hunnam says. “Much like many presidents who follow from their predecessor, it’s a difficult transition,” says Hunnam, who loses more and more of his native accent every year. Hunnam suggests that things might be more democratic this season in SAMCRO. “I think that there’s shades of gray,” Hunnam teases, saying that Jax is weighing one evil against another. “There’s a lot on his agenda, I think.”
4:11 p.m. How much of a hole has Opie’s death left in Jax? “That I think was the highlight of this experience. It was really tragic and painful to let go of that character,” but it was such a deep creative experience,” says Hunnam, who admits that he always anticipated that it was going to be Opie and Jax sitting at the head of the table. “I think as we’ve been going through the season so far, he’s been trying to let that loss inform him in a more positive way,” Hunnam says. He adds that Ryan Hurst had a hard time saying good-bye to the character as well. “After a little while as a catharsis, he wrote this beautiful essay called, ‘The Last Rites of Opie Winston,'” Hunnam informs us.
4:15 p.m. How much leverage does Clay still have? And does he believe he can get power back? Last season, Clay decided that Gemma was the only thing in his life he could do without and now that she’s betrayed him, he’s out of options. “Season 6 is him knowing that there’s no more leveraging. There’s no more maneuvering. There’s no more choices. There’s just this bounty on his head and he’s no longer in control of how many minutes he’s got left,” Perlman says. “It’s the first time in his life when he’s not in the position to have any fight left in him. He’s worn out all his choices and he’s completely at the mercy of other forces,” Perlman adds.
4:19 p.m. “That relationship bounces around a lot,” Katey Sagal says of whether or not Gemma has the upperhand now with Tara. “Certain things will intensify in Season 6,” she promises and says that Tara has had to “man up” and Gemma’s motivation continues to be getting close to her son. And Gemma has no regrets about what she did to Clay.
4:19 p.m. How much does Tara worry that she’s turning into Gemma? “I think she’s realized that in order to survive in this world, there are certain rules and modes that she has to live by in order to survive and they happen to resemble Gemma deeply,” Maggie Siff says. But she says that what Tara desires is completely different, even if their methods are the same. “In terms of regretting coming back, I think once you’ve had children, regret is kind of a moot point,” Siff says.
4:21 p.m. What was it like for the actors to shoot the Gemma/Clay betrayal. “You feel pretty safe in the environment,” Sagal says, praising the subtlety of the betrayal. “It was written so well that that actual final beat where he gets it and Juice gets it, it was very quick,” Sagal adds. “So much is said while saying so little,” Theo Rossi agrees. “Sometimes there’s so much power in words not being said and just looks,” he adds. Perlman says that Clay had already made his decision of redemption. “So that scene was like… It was like getting hit in the gut knowing that all the rules were going to change, not just for Clay, but for everything that has happened over the past five years. It was devastating,” Perlman says of Clay having to realize that he wasn’t as good a chess player as he thought he was.
4:26 p.m. How do the other Sons see the hatred between Jax and Clay playing out and can the club survive? “Bob Munson knows everything. He seems to be the only light at the end of the tunnel,” Mark Boone Jr. says. “What the f*** is he talking about?” Perlman inquires. “It’s total mayhem right now,” Kim Coates says, promising that Tig is back on the leash this season and it’s the Jax Leash, but warns that there are still secrets that aren’t being shared.
4:28 p.m. The gang doesn’t know a lot of Juice’s secrets, so where is Juice now? “You make me sound so terrible,” Rossi says after all of Juice’s sins are listed. Rossi notes that Juice has always had ties to Jax, but that he found a father figure in Clay. “He’s just looking to be led and he wants someone to point him in the right direction. There are leaders and soldiers in this world and he’s definitely a soldier,” Rossi says.
4:30 p.m. What is Bobby’s role going forward? “I can’t really tell you that. I don’t think Bobby’s gonna go down too easy. This is kinda his life and throughout this kinda whole thing, he’s just kinda holding the club up as much as he can. What else is he going to do?” Boone muses.
4:31 p.m. And how about Chibs? What does he bring to the table as the VP? “I don’t know. Maybe some conscience?” Tommy Flanagan suggests, saying that Chibs has blind loyalty to Jax. “Tommy’s like my big brother in real life,” Hunnam says, hinting at adventures they’ve had in real life before ever working together on the show.
4:33 p.m. Dayton Callie has been very quiet at the end of the panel. Moderator asks if Unser is ever going to close the deal with Gemma. It seems that Callie was thinking that his microphone was fake because it doesn’t have a wire. “I doubt it,” he says of Unser and Gemma.
4:34 p.m. What is it like for Paris Barclay directing? And how intense do things get for the actors? Paris says that every script from Kurt is like a bomb and their job is to light the fuse and watch it explode. “I’m just here to represent the fans,” he insists.
4:35 p.m. What body part is Otto going to lose this year? “Well, he’s running out of appendages,” Sutter says. “I always joke about what’s going on with me emotionally… is basically what happens to Otto on-screen and I think we’ll continue down that path this season and awful things will keep happening to him.”
4:36 p.m. “Sons of Anarchy” is moving into graphic novel formal. We’ve got a few of the covers on stage. They look a little badass. “I’m not sure why it’s only about Tig, but it is,” Sutter says looking at the two huge pictures of Kim Coates. The graphic novels will run parallel to the show, with new characters, plus some familiar characters as well.
4:38 p.m. Like last year, we’re doing trivia for prizes. First one: In Season One, what is the name of Lowell Harland Jr’s young son? Apparently it’s Moby? Or I think that’s what they said? I sure wouldn’t know that. The second question is just a True/False question. I can’t hear the answer so… Whatever.
4:40 p.m. This isn’t great. Basically, Kurt’s mumbling questions that only people in the front rows can answer. Which is the nickname of Bobby’s son with his ex-wife? Tikki, apparently. Even Kurt didn’t know that.
4:41 p.m. Yikes. A question about Half-Sack? REALLY? That’s not in particularly great taste. Can we please get to audience questions? Please?
4:43 p.m. Crud. The ballroom wifi crapped out on the three audience questions. There were only three, though. The first was about when Tara will get to kick Gemma’s butt. Katey Sagal said that there would be butt kicking this season, but she wouldn’t say who would be kicking who. The second question was from a woman named Harley who wanted to know when there would be more women riding on the show. Kurt said that while he respects and honors women who ride, in his research, the women in outlaw clubs and MCs like SAMCRO don’t do the same things the men do and don’t ride. And then the last question asked Charlie what drives Jax. Hunnam said that he and Jax are similar because they’re both on the verge of existential crisis and that the MC is his “greater good” and gives Jax purpose.
4:51 p.m. They replay the teaser trailer, which is fantastic. I assume FX’ll be making that available soon.
That’s all and that’s all for Comic-Con 2013!